Or is that “I voted early?” I kinda like the sound of “early voted.”
The following are the notes I typed into my phone as I stood in line this afternoon to cast my vote.
4:10 pm. I’m in line to early vote. There are 30 people in front of me at the county administration building. There are two poll workers. There are two folding tables set up, each with two voting booths set up. Rarely are all four occupied at the same time.
I left work early for an appointment that turned out to be cancelled; since I was driving right by, I decided to vote today instead of early tomorrow morning as I originally planned. The little city I live in (52,000) is heavily, staunchly conservative and Republican my little liberal self is generally out of place. At my usual polling place, I rarely see another black face – we are only 14% of the population here. But I’d say at least a third of the people here in line to vote are African American. The line snakes forward and doubles around like a we are waiting for a ride at an amusement park.
Right now there is a delay while they make up more envelopes. (5 minutes later) …the line is moving again. Most people seem to be here alone, on the way home from work, like me. I hear a man a few feet ahead of me saying this is his one day off during the week. Some folks greet people they know. There’s a bit of small talk, some grumbling about how long this is taking but most people seem to be okay with it.
I’m eavesdropping as hard as I can, but no one seems to be talking about the election. I wonder what that conversation would be like… if we bunch of strangers dared to talk about the election. Lots of folks are reading, a couple listening to ipods. Some texting. I wonder if anyone else is blogging.
Just a few minutes ago a young woman came thru with a basket of food – bagels, crackers, cheese, bottles of water. I joke with the woman ahead of me that someone could make a killing the next few days, especially next Tuesday. When we find out the treats are free, there is a lot more interest. I get some cheese. I already have water.
4:40. Now there are 22 people ahead of me.
5:00. I am rounding the bend. The line behind me now stretches all the way back to the entrance.
5:20. About 10 people ahead of me. For some reason, things have stalled. There are no people in the voting booths.
5:30. I’m now number 8.
5:55 I’m next.
Here is the procedure. You go to the desk where the workers are, and hand over your ID. One of the workers puts the name and address (I suppose – I couldn’t see what she was typing) into the computer. A few seconds later, a label maker prints out a bar code. The bar code is affixed to a blue envelope. You are asked to sign a paper that says you are who you are, etc I really didn’t look at it, but I signed it. Then you are given a ballot, and told to go over, do your voting at the booth, fold the ballot like so, place it in the blue envelope and seal. Then you go back over to the table, pick up a yellow envelope with your name on it and the paper you signed earlier inside of it. The blue envelope goes inside that, you seal it, and then place it in the ballot box.
So… I did all of that. I voted. And you know who I voted for.
They don’t give you an “I Voted Today” sticker for early voting. But that’s okay. Bring on November 4th.
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